Light = Energy Part 1

What is energy? How is it made and where does it come from?

Albert Einstein proposed a beautiful equation in the early 1900s to helps us understand energy called Mass-energy equivalence:

E=mc2

E = energy
m = mass
c = speed of light

The law of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed. It can only be transformed from one form to another. E=mc2 gives us those 2 forms:

M – mass (stored energy or potential energy of an object at rest)
c – light (“free” energy or radiant energy released from an object that moves)

It is clear that in order for life to exist, it must satisfy the energy equation. Any decrease in mass leads to exponential increases in the liberation of light. On the contrary, any decrease in the speed of light leads to exponential increases in mass. This is how life can alter the shape and size of things by manipulating this equation through environmental variations. Life adapts to these variations utilizing the concepts of this equation.

Most people assume the ‘c’ in E=mc2 is constant, because the speed of light is a constant in space (i.e. measured in a vacuum). However, most fail to consider that as the median in which light travels changes, it alters the speed of light, and as mentioned above, when light slows down, mass is increased. Consider how photosynthesis occurs in plants. Light hits water which interacts with carbon dioxide to create plant sugars and oxygen. It is the light energy that drives this reaction, and a plant makes sugar out of thin air by slowing light down using water. This process is controlled in plant chloroplasts. Animals and humans actually reverse this process in mitochondria by consuming plant sugar, and oxygen to reproduce water and carbon dioxide.

Image result for chloroplast photosynthesis mitochondria cellular respiration

It is clear life needed to control the speed of light for various reasons:

1) to create chemicals for signalling
2) to support and regulate growth and metabolism
3) to do work (to power our thoughts and our actions)

Life needs to collect and store light in order to build things with mass and structure, and it uses water as the repository for electromagnetic radiation (i.e. light). The light that is stored in water can then be liberated to drive biological processes and chemical reactions within cells in order to do work to support complex life.

So how does this all tie in to modern health and wellness? Well, most people today focus on things like diet, exercise and supplementation to maintain health. The problem with this is that without a fundamental understanding of energy, and the importance of light, we will not be able to reverse-engineer ourselves back to optimal. Consider the following: when we die, we have no energy. But, we still do have a physical body (i.e. corpse) with mass. So if we use E=mc2 to calculate death, E=0. If E=0 then either ‘m’ or ‘c’ must equal 0. We have a corpse with mass which means that death = loss of all energy from light. Additionally, when we are sick, we are in a state of energy loss. But again, our body still has mass, so illness is a result of the loss of energy from light. While this may seem like a perspective you’ve never considered, I encourage you to check out the work of German Professor Dr. Fritz Popp on biophoton release. It turns out that every cell in our body releases light energy in the form of biophotons, and this energy can be measured in the range of UV light. The more stressed a cell is, the more light is releases.

This series will cover in depth how our health is affected primarily by light. The series will unfold the physics of light, and examine how adaptation and evolution built complexity using nothing but light.

The Deep Dark Cold – Part 5

Embracing discomfort strengthens us and improves our tolerance to stress, and Mother Nature rewards us for these efforts. Just as a tough workout leads to a stronger, functional body upon recovery, it is the adaptation to a tough environment that occurs over time that allows us to build ourselves up. These adaptations are buried within our genes, but we have to face the right stress and the right stimulus consistently to tap this beautiful biochemistry for wellness.

Can you activate this biochemical pathway outside of winter? Of course you can. We are designed to activate this pathway year round as long as we follow Mother Nature’s rules. There is an entirely different way to activate this exact pathway utilising sunlight but that will be another blog series in its entirety. We do not always have the privilege of strong sunlight year round, but when we do not, we have the cold. Today, even when we do have sunlight, modern living keeps us indoors, and humans also control the thermostat to avoid discomfort. The lack of sun and the lack of cold as the ideal stimulus is a double-edged sword to prevent wellness by blinding us from this pathway.

Why have I chosen to focus my attention on the effects of cold prior to discussing the sun? Because you can create this environment for yourself any day, any time at no cost, and no pills required. How you ask? Simply fill up your bath tub with cold water and hop in.

Everybody knows you should apply ice to an injury because it reduces swelling. Why do athletes take ice baths after their games? It enhances recovery, no? It reduces inflammation and pain. It increases blood circulation and enhances immune function. It lowers blood sugar, blood pressure, increases metabolic function and fat burning, and optimizes body composition. Did you know it also decreases depression, anxiety and improves wakefulness and sense of wellbeing? Did you know it improves sleep? Did you know it decreases hunger?

Now you understand why: cold activates the leptin melanocortin pathway which is explained in part 3. This pathway can be activated via cold on the skin, and cold water works best, because heat is lost much faster in water vs air. Introducing the concept of cold therapy or CT. Believe it or not, it is an ancient practice for wellness, and with good reason. Most of the time, these rituals are passed down from generation, and the audience does not concern themselves with “why” or “how” this works, they simply trust the messenger, employ the ritual, and reap the benefits.

As a young child, I always enjoyed playing outside in the snow. I would get warm quite easily, and find myself de-layering, especially if I was playing ice hockey at the local rink, or performing some form of intense exercise. I remember even as a teenager, I had a strong desire to jump in the snow with next to no clothing on. The thrill of the cold on my skin got my heart raising, and I could feel my dopamine receptors become activated. It turns out that cold water immersion has the ability to substantially raise dopamine levels. Now you may understand why dogs love to roll around in the snow and cool their skin. It is instinctive behavior, just as you see dogs or cats finding a sunny room to lay in your home. They know what is good for them intuitively, and I believe humans do too especially as children. Modern living however, blinded me of my instincts in favor of living for comfort; that is, staying nice and warm in the winter, avoiding the cold and living indoors. On the contrary, the hot summers kept me indoors with the AC cranked up. When I reached my epiphany that Mother Nature was simply trying to help us out, I began to erase my modern beliefs and embrace the temporary discomfort of the cold, and my human instincts returned quickly as my dopamine levels rose high.

Waking up in the deep dark cold of winter and hopping into a cold shower, or plunging into the snow was my new way of life allowing me to thrive in this tough environment. It worked better than a coffee and fake bright lights for waking up and improving my sense of wellbeing. Driving to and from work with the windows down in -20 C conditions became the norm, and in the early spring driving over the bridge that overlooked a local river where the ice had just began to melt always drove intense desires to take a plunge into the freezing waters.

If you would like to learn more about our ability as humans to tolerate the cold, I encourage you to google search “Wim Hof” aka the iceman. He is the posterchild for cold adaptation, and his abilities would simply leave you floored.

Just as it can take weeks, months, if not years to achieve your fitness goals and become stronger and build muscle, the same principles apply when it comes to adapting to our environment. Cold adaptation takes time, as there is some serious rewiring occurring in the brain when our skin initially senses the cold. So how would one go about adapting to the cold? Here are some strategies to help:

1) Begin with ice water face dunks – fill up a large bowl of cold water. Add ice. Submerge only your face in the water while holding your breath. Repeat several times, and make this a daily habit.

2) Reduce your water temperature in the shower from steaming hot to luke warm. Gradually turn the knob down to slowly allow you to catch your breath each time you feel the sensation of cold. Try to make progress each and every day by: ending colder than the previous shower, and starting slightly colder. Eventually, within a few weeks, you should have no issues hopping right in to the cold shower. Practice taking deep breaths, and you will lower the “stress” response.

3) Fill your tub with cold water. Submerge yourself slowly while managing your breathing. Become very still. Lay in the tub and time yourself. Start out with 5 mins. Work your way up to 10 mins. Then 15, etc. If you can make it to 30 mins, you are a rockstar! Keep it up and reap the benefits.

Expect shivering in the initial stages. This will go away once you convert enough of your white fat (WAT) to brown fat (FAT). At this point, you will no longer shiver in the cold as you burn your own fat and calories from food as pure heat!

These are strategies you can employ year round, summer or winter. In fact, it may be ideal to try this out in the summer or fall to help you adapt to winter so you can thrive. Once you become adapted, this pathway can be tapped at any time, and when you can add sun to the mix, the benefits are explosive. For the last 2+ years, I have lived in this pathway year round, adding sun to the mix when I can, and I will never go back to the “modern living for comfort” mentality. My mind is sharp, I’ve forgotten what stress feels like, my sleep is sound, my body composition is optimized without diet or exercise, I radiate heat in the cold, my immune function is top-notch, fatigue and depression are completely foreign to me, etc. Shall I go on, or do you get the message?

Take a leap of faith, and trust me on this one. I am not trying to sell you supplements, special workout programs, or even diet plans. I’m simply here to help you rediscover the power of your evolutionary biology. Embrace the cold, start burning calories as pure heat, and live your life optimally and well. I hope you enjoyed this blog series!

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The Deep Dark Cold – Part 4

What happens when humans live outside their evolutionary biology? Do we even know how we have evolved to become the complex beings we are today? Maybe the problem is that we’ve become so incredibly intelligent, that we are the only species on this planet capable of controlling our environment, and living outside of our evolutionary biology.

Let’s examine what happens to animals when they are placed in captivity in a Zoo. They are confined to cages that do not allow them to explore, hunt and roam free. They have feeding schedules rather than ad libitum. They often have artificial lighting and heating sources instead of the sun. They are taken care of by humans and have lost control of their own functions. Could they even thrive if you let them lose, or would they have forgotten their instincts? They would likely need to relearn how to be “wild”.

This probably sounds awful to you, and yet very familiar. Humans today spend more time indoors under artificial conditions than outside getting fresh air and natural sunlight exposure. Our brain’s have a difficult time adapting to an environment that could change in a matter of seconds, because we can be exposed to bright light at midnight, or eat carbohydrates in the dead of winter when no plant food can physically grow. Not to mention, the amount of processing that occurs to make the foods we love to eat. Were they even made via photosynthesis from sunlight? Or maybe they were produced in a lab under fake lighting? Can we truly thrive when our biological clocks are no longer ticking to the rhythms of Mother Nature? With the click of a button we can turn night into day, and winter into summer.

What are the consequences of these mismatches? Well, the leptin melanocortin pathway is designed to do something special as you learned about in part 3. When we sleep at night in darkness, melatonin drops our core temperature and this allows us to tap this pathway, because as mentioned, cold liberates fat as heat from storage, and leptin gets released.  This is why sleep is so critical. Everybody knows it, but most people do not know why. Now you have some context. The same mechanism occurs in winter when the light is weaker, and the temperature drops. Our skin needs to direct heat towards it and that heat comes from stored energy within us.

When light enters the retina of our eye, it triggers an awakening response. You learned that VIP (vasoactive intestinal peptide) entrains our circadian rhythms to light in part 3 and VIP is what directs blood flow to our digestive system. This means that light through our eye is going to have a massive effect on our feeding patterns and has the potential to induce hunger. Ever wonder why you can’t kick your midnight cravings when you’ve spent several hours beyond sunset starring at some sort of LED screen? It’s because you’ve inhibited the leptin melanocortin pathway by stimulating your brain through the light that enters your eye. Prolonged daily light exposure increases body fat mass through attenuation of brown adipose tissue activity. Basically, light at night encourages fat gain because we cannot activate the leptin melanocortin pathway which helps us express BAT to burn off our excess calories at heat, and keep us lean.

Additionally, the fact that carbohydrates can be eaten anytime of the year leads to NPY stimulation that drive cravings. Cravings that should not normally exist under conditions of winter. The carbohydrates keep our circadian clocks entrained to light when it is not present in the amounts required to keep us well via the leptin melanocortin pathway. This is another reason seasonal affective disorder exists, and why humans tend to eat more food in the winter as comfort. When we lack energy from our environment, we must make up the difference. The difference lies in the energy stored in fat mass of mammals who fattened on carbohydrates in the fall.

Why do carbs fatten mammals in the fall? Because the energy from the sun is dramatically lower, and we cannot harvest enough light to liberate the energy from the carbs we eat, and the energy has to be stored for later use. Mother Nature built this fattening mechanism into mammals, and it was designed to be a temporary occurrence, because once the snow hits and all the fruits have fallen, we are forced to fast, and adapt to both cold and famine. As mentioned in previous blogs, this is the switch we need to now tap into the energy stored in our fat mass. The temperature gradient (i.e. cold on our skin) drives the flow of energy from within us to the outside, and our fat mass dissipates as heat. The leptin melanocortin pathway is the biochemical pathway that explains how the physics works within our body.

Now ask yourself why so many struggle with obesity, or other illnesses related to energy and metabolism? It is because modern life lives indoors, with controlled thermostats, and fake lights to keep this biochemical pathway buried in our brains. This type of environment mimics fall fattening YEARROUND. So we continue to store fat, and we lack the sun’s power to liberate that energy to run the biochemistry in us for wellness, and nobody enjoys conquering the cold, so we cannot use that simple physics concept to release heat from deep within our tissues to tap into this useable energy.

What is the take home? Spend more time outdoors ALWAYS. Keep the lights off always, and appreciate the NATURAL light from our sun. Work within the scheduled hours of the sun, NOT man’s ideals of how we should work. Follow Mother Nature’s rules and eat seasonal: what’s cooking in Mother Nature’s kitchen is always safe, fad diets recommended by man cannot be trusted on the otherhand because they do not consider how photosynthesis forms ALL the foodwebs on our earth. This process is controlled by the power of sunlight, in case you didn’t know that.

Seasons are transitions of the solar and geothermal cycles. They occur every year, and Mother Nature allows us to adapt to these subtle changes, but we must experience them. As the temperature slowly drops and we allow our brain to perceive these changes, all the hardwiring begins to take place to be able to adapt and cope to these changes. All it takes is getting outside, and getting out of nature’s way. The adaptations are buried in our genes. Conquering nature and embracing its wonders is the only way to activate them.

 

The Deep Dark Cold – Part 3

Imagine a single biochemical pathway in our body for optimal health, wellness and longevity. What would it look like?

It would result in an optimized metabolism and maintenance of a healthy weight. Hunger and cravings would be eliminated and appetite controlled. We would have better immune function and less acute illnesses. Inflammation levels would be decreased in all our tissues. We would have increased sexual function and higher fertility rates. Our mood and sense of wellbeing would be enhanced, as would our ability to tolerate pain and stress. Our hormone function would be optimized which would increase mental and physical capabilities. There would be improvements in our blood flow and our blood pressure would be well regulated.

A single pathway that could achieve the above seems too good to be true. But wouldn’t evolution (which takes place over the course of thousands, and even millions of years) strive to build something like this in us overtime? Introducing the leptin-melanocortin pathway. This pathway exists between our fat tissue and our brain, and unfortunately, modern living keeps us blinded from it.

First and foremost, this pathway requires an optimized circadian rhythm; that is, our body’s ability of adapting to the light cycle and having a synchronized rhythm to it. This means waking with the sunrise, and falling asleep shortly after sunset. Such a pathway would also require multiple mechanisms to activate it so we can thrive in various environments we may be exposed to. For instance, in summer we have longer light cycles and warmer temperatures, but in winter we have the opposite. A normal warm adapted human’s circadian rhythm is entrained to light (via the eye and the skin) and this is when carbohydrates are eaten when they grow in long light cycles. How does this work? In summer, we use VIP (vasoactive intestinal peptide) to entrain the circadian rhythm to light. It’s role is to direct blood flow toward intestinal regions of the body because we need to support our digestive system in a time when food is plentiful. In long light cycles, the foods we eat (i.e. carbohydrates) help our brain adapt to this summertime environment. Additionally, the consumption of carbohydrates stimulate a chemical called NPY (Neuropeptide-Y) which stimulates our appetite, food-seeking behaviors and encourages fat accumulation because summer is the time when food is available. Now you know why eating just one cookie when five are in front of you seems impossible; you can thank NPY for that.

As the light cycle begins to decline and winter hits, cold becomes the dominant stimulus on our skin, and our brain rewires itself by entraining circadian rhythms to temperature. When cold is sensed on our skin, there are changes to how energy flows between us and our environment. Cold activates the sympathetic nervous system (our fight or flight system), and this drives the rewiring of this biochemical pathway in the brain. Norepinephrine (one of the adrenaline hormones) is released in massive quantities, and mobilizes stored energy. It directs blood flow away from the gastrointestinal tract and toward muscle and fat tissue. One of its important effects is converting WAT (white adipose tissue – aka our body fat) into BAT (brown adipose tissue). BAT takes up energy and burns our calories as free heat. As this occurs, we begin to preferentially burn fatty acids because they release more heat, and insulin is shut off in the cold, because we are no longer eating carbohydrates because Mother Nature says they can’t grow under these conditions. When carbohydrates are not eaten, NPY is no longer expressed, and sugar/hunger cravings disappear. Additionally VIP no longer entrains the circadian rhythm to light. Instead Norepinephrine expresses eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase) which results in the production of NO (nitric oxide) to drive the show by increasing blood flow to BAT to burn off glucose and fatty acids as pure heat. Diabetes hint: This is a mechanism to lower blood sugar without even requiring the ability to produce insulin, or requiring insulin sensitivity! Can you also say bye-bye to the whole concept of calorie counting for weight loss? Wow the calories in versus calories out theory just went right out the window! Doesn’t that feel nice? Evolution is pretty badass, I must say.

So, cold induces fat burning via activation of the sympathetic nervous system. What happens to our body fat as it is being burned? A hormone called leptin that is produced by fat cells is liberated in massive quantities. What does leptin do when it gets released? It travels to an area of the brain called the hypothalamus where the leptin receptor lies. Leptin binds to the receptor and activates it which results in the production of a neuron called POMC (proopiomelanocortin) in the brain. POMC is where a lot of the magic happens with regards to my definition of what the ultimate pathway of health, wellness and longevity is.

POMC cleaves into several different neuropeptides that exert specific effects:

  • ACTH (adrenocorticotropin Hormone)
    • Stimulates release of cortisol, a potent anti-inflammatory, anti-stress and blood sugar modulator hormone
    • Modulates immune-endocrine function
  • MSH (Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone)
    • Stimulates melanocytes in the skin to produce melanin to induce tanning and protect the skin from excess UV exposure
    • Suppresses appetite and increases energy expenditure
    • Increases sexual arousal
    • Regulates sodium levels and blood pressure
  • beta-Endorphin
    • Activates opioid receptors to:
      • Decrease pain and increase sense of wellbeing
      • Decreased bodily stress
      • Enhance pleasure and reward
      • Stabilize behavior
      • Reduction in calcium efflux into cells, reducing excitotoxicity and creating a calming effect

So you can begin to check off much of what I mentioned earlier in this blog with regards to the ideal biochemical pathway for wellness. Now, we’re not quite done, because there is some physics that is critical to understand moving forward.

Broken record REMINDER: cold condenses matter. This means, our cells shrink and dump excess energy (i.e. fat) as heat. Now what surrounds all of our cells? Water. What does cold do to water? It expands it. What does heat do to water? It shrinks it. Why is this important? Because water has to absorb a lot of heat in the cold in order to shrink it to maintain the optimal density in our cells that allow for better transfer of energy. This is why even drinking cold water alone induces fat burning, because we release heat from our tissue. This is a simple hack to release more energy. Imagine that, a single factor: cold can give us energy for free! Isn’t physics and thermodynamics awesome?

So, why did I bring up the fact that cold condenses matter once again? Because it’s a freaking huge deal from a physics and energy efficiency perspective. The less mass an object has, the less energy it requires and this means stability. For humans it means longevity, because we can get by with less energy. How does this relate to hormone function? Brace yourself:

All hormonal systems follow a feedback loop: the hypothalamus of the brain generates a signal to the pituitary gland, and the pituitary gland releases a “stimulating” hormone that travels to the endocrine organ and acts as a messenger to force the organ to “work” to produce its specialty hormone. We have the sex hormones: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, the stress hormones: cortisol, adrenaline and the thyroid hormones: T3 and T4. When it comes to hormone function, most focus in on the lab numbers on a blood test. But what if this was a poor way to measure hormone function? What happens after a gland produces its hormone? Is the job completed? Not so fast… The hormone now gets secreted, and has to travel via the blood circulation to reach its receptor in various tissues, at which point it must bind to the receptor and activate that receptor in order for proper gene expression to take place. How efficiently this occurs will be reflected in how functional we are with regards to the effects of that hormone. Once a receptor is activated, the brain receives a signal, and begins to shut off the production of that hormone via negative feedback loop.

If you chase hormone numbers on a bloodtest as a measure of optimal endocrine function, guess what you may have forgotten? The more hormone your glands have to produce, the more “work” it takes to activate your receptors. Wouldn’t you want your organs to work LESS to exhibit the end goal of the hormonal effect? That is why the fact that cold CONDENSES matter is a big deal: because it shrinks the size of your receptors, so less hormone has to be produced to get the same effect! What does this mean? It means you become more sensitive to your hormones, and you spare your organs so they will last you longer! Can you say longevity? Can you see the flaws in conventional wisdom now with regards to hormone replacement? Why might this idea get thrown into our brains as the future for anti-aging?

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For the skeptics, and the “mighty” men who strive for HIGH testosterone: is having high insulin good or bad? Isn’t it associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes? On the contrary is high blood sugar good or bad? Is high cholesterol and triglycerides good or bad? Are you starting to see my perspective? Too much of something in the blood is a sign there is a lack of energy flow. Things aren’t getting to where they need to get to. The cold simply fixes that because it shrinks things down, and this improves the thermodynamics by decreasing the distance of energy travel. Not only that, but cold increases the magnetic effect. Magnetism is the natural force of attraction; hormones work via the magnetic effect:  the hormone is released, and has to bind to its receptor. Cold increases this ability to create more sensitivity while heat decreases it and creates more resistance.

So you can see how activating this pathway is really the key to health, wellness and longevity, and my entire ideology and theories with regards to human wellness is about activating this pathway. It is simply incredible what the cold can do for us if we are willing to accept it back into our lives. In future blogs, we will discuss some of the practical takeaways from all this science, and really pick apart the flaws of conventional wisdom.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12582201
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12609005
https://jackkruse.com/cold-thermogenesis-6-the-ancient-pathway
https://jackkruse.com/cold-thermogenesis-7

 

The Deep Dark Cold – Part 2

Does the change of day to night alter the way energy flows within our cells?

The answer will determine the course of action for the brain to take to help adapt to our environment: do we need to dump excess energy, or do we need to store more energy? For instance, when our energy status is high, we no longer need to store food as energy and on the contrary, when energy status is low, we do need to store more food as energy. To make this clear, we all know that when our gas tank is low in our vehicles, we get a warning indicator on our dashboard. This is the signal that we should try to pull into a gas station as soon as we can to refill the tank. As we do so, there is a gauge that determines when the tank is full. Once the tank is full, the gas dispenser automatically shuts off, and we are ready to pay our gas bill. What happens when we continue to keep pulling the trigger on the gas dispenser? The tank overflows, and gas leaks out. This means that excess energy is simply unused and dumped back to the environment.

You may not realise this, but our brain and fat stores work in precisely the same way utilising a biochemical pathway that few know about. In fact, everything that is alive or uses energy follows the same basic principles, because these are laws of thermodynamics. This should be a major clue to you that food and excess calories are NOT the mechanism for obesity. If our fat stores are full, then any excess calories from food will be released from the body, yet conventional wisdom tells us that excess calories are stored as fat. How can this be so if our fat stores are already full? To give you another perspective, why do trucks have larger gas tanks, and yet still do not have the same fuel efficiency of small cars? The difference lies in the size of the engine. Size is negatively correlated with the flow of energy, and it turns out the larger an object, the more energy is required to maintain its current state (or fill the storage tank to satisfy energy requirements). This is another clue that obesity might be linked to a HIGH metabolism, not a LOW one, but we’ll get into that a little later.

Our fat tissue (also called white adipose tissue – WAT) stores energy from food in fat cells known as adipocytes. When we eat food (especially carbohydrates), our blood sugar increases and a hormone known as insulin is secreted from the pancreas to transport sugar from food to cells that require stored energy (i.e. muscle and fat tissue). So feeding is essentially a way for us to “fill up” our fat stores which is equivalent to filling a gas tank. Refueling with food/carbohydrates is ALWAYS a function of daytime and summer in particular, because we are designed to eat when carbohydrates are available and when we are awake and active in summer months. Additionally, when the sun is up, light is shining on us, which means our cells are designed to expand and take up energy. The laws of thermodynamics state that energy always flows from a higher state to a lower state, or from hot to cold. Humans are ALWAYS in a lower energetic state and lower temperature than the sun, and considering food is made through photosynthesis (a quantized process driven by sunlight), the same rules apply with eating. Daytime is all about harvesting and collecting energy and information from our environment to store in our cells.

Now, what happens when the sun sets and the temperature drops and we go to sleep? The flow of energy changes in the opposite direction. Remember, energy flows from hot to cold. Humans are supposed to be fully charged up by sunlight by dusk, and our fat cells should be nice and full from the foods we consumed. As I mentioned in part 1, cold/darkness condenses matter. This means our cells get smaller at night, which now creates an overflow in our cells, and excess energy dissipates back to the environment in the form of heat. This is essentially how we burn our excess fat at night while we sleep, condense our cells to reduce our metabolism and energy requirements which enhances the thermodynamics within our cells so we can become more energy efficient during a time when it is safe to run all the bodily repair and regeneration programs. See evolution has allowed our bodies to sense a “safe” environment from a “dangerous” (stressful) environment. A “safe” environment is one where we have excess energy, and a “dangerous” (stressful) environment is one where we need to store more energy. It would be detrimental to utilize energy for regeneration during the day when we are in an active state and we need all our energy for immune function, exploring, hunting, fighting, fleeing, eating and reproducing. This is how biology adapted to the laws of physics we are all governed by.

Now let’s talk about how light and temperature affect our ability/inability to maximize energy storage capacity. REMINDER: light and heat UNCONDENSE matter. This means during the day, our cells swell and get bigger so they can store MORE energy when it is available from our environment (i.e. sunlight, food, water). This allows us to maximize energy storage. On the contrary, cold CONDENSES matter. This means at night, our cells shrink so they require LESS energy when it is no longer available in our environment (i.e. darkness, sleep). This allows our cells to increase energy efficiency by lowering the metabolic rate.

So what is the take home message? We are designed to collect as much energy from our environment as possible during the day. The way we do this is by uncondensing our cells using sunlight to increase our storage capacity. On the contrary, we are designed to minimize the amount of energy required to regenerate our body at night while we sleep. So what happens when humans live outside of our evolutionary biology and break these laws of physics? What could the implications be of a lack of sunlight and energy from a natural, outdoor environment be? On the contrary, what could the implications be of using fake light at night? Could it alter the way energy flows within our cells? Could it also inhibit the feedback loop between the brain and our fat tissue, inhibiting the brain’s ability to properly account for energy?

We will delve into these concerns in future blogs and explore the biochemical pathways between the brain and fat tissue in more depth.

The Deep Dark Cold – Part 1

Something special happens to us when we are exposed to cold. Considering we are all endothermic mammals, thermogenesis (the ability to produce our own heat internally) is built into us. We have two types of fat tissue in our body: white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT). When mammals are in a warm adapted state (i.e. summer), they tend to store more fat in WAT from the foods they eat because food is available in warm climates where they grow via photosynthesis and they need to store fat during the day to use as energy at night while they sleep in darkness without food. On the contrary, when mammals are in a cold adapted state (i.e. winter), they tend to convert WAT into BAT, and BAT is highly thermogenic. This means that calories from food are no longer stored as fat, but are liberated as heat to maintain core temperatures under freezing cold conditions. Given that food (carbohydrates) is also minimally available in winter months, the majority of those calories required for thermogenesis come from body fat stored in WAT during summer months and autumn when carbs were still available and consumed.

Interesting how our biology is designed to completely rewire itself under drastic changes to our environment huh? Have you ever seen a deer in the summer versus the winter? If you flip on the discovery channel, you will see that mammals are their leanest in the dead of the winter. Could it be that the lack of food availability, and the simultaneous increased caloric requirements for regulating the core temperature would be a mechanism to shed fat stores quickly to reduce metabolism (energy requirements) allowing life to cope with famine and thrive in the cold? Similarly, trees shed their fruits and leaves in the autumn in preparation for winter. Have you ever wondered why that occurs? When living things decrease their mass, they decrease their energy requirements and this helps them adapt to conditions less than ideal for life (i.e. winter). Ask yourself this: does it require more energy to heat a mansion or a shack? Now you know why it is advantageous to lose fat mass in response to the cold and evolution has built this into all living things using the laws of physics, because cold shrinks and condenses matter.

Now, how many humans do you know today that are truly cold adapted? I’m talking walking in the snow with minimal clothing on without shivering? Next to none. As humans, we are the only species capable of controlling our environment for comfort. That means we no longer have to face a true winter again. We can avoid the cold by using artificial heat in our homes and cars, and dress in heavy winter clothing should we have to go outside. But what if winter and the cold was designed to do something special for us? What if it was a way to “reverse” the damage and inflammation accumulated from a period of high activity such as summer? In long light cycles we eat more food (especially carbohydrates) because it is available to us. We exercise more because we need to explore our environment, fight and flee from predators. We sleep less because there is less darkness. We are exposed to stronger light stimulus and heat from the sun. All of these factors are potential stressors that have to be dealt with accordingly and we all know that stress needs to be balanced by rest and regeneration.

As I mentioned earlier, cold condenses matter. On the contrary, heat or light UNcondenses matter. This is a synonym for swelling. A synonym for swelling is also inflammation. In physics, this means that things get bigger. When living things increase their mass, they increase their metabolic rate which increases energy requirements, which subsequently increases the amount of food required to maintain their current state. Could this be why humans, unlike all other mammals are their fattest in the dead of winter? Is there a connection between the excessive use and reliance on artificial lighting and heat to get us through these dark, cold times and our increased desire for food during the holiday pig-out events? Foods (i.e. carbohydrates) that are not supposed to even be available to us because they do not grow in cold, dark environments due to a lack of photosynthesis? So does it make sense to postpone winter indefinitely? Or might Mother Nature be providing us with an environment to optimize regeneration? Could a lack of cold on our skin and excessive bright lights through our eyes 24/7 be blinding us from another pathway found in our brain to reverse chronic inflammation and restore optimal health and function? If so, how could a modern human tap into this pathway for wellness?

Stay tuned…

Cravings

Why do so many individuals have cravings today? Whether you’re healthy or not, I’m sure you have experienced a craving from time to time, whether it be related to food, substance or behavioral/habitual.

There is ALWAYS an underlying cause of cravings, so I believe giving advice like: “you should stop eating sugar, it’s bad for you” or “you shouldn’t drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or smoke weed” is useless. Why would I say that? Because the guilty party probably already knows these things aren’t good for them, and yet something drives them to do it. But to me, it’s not so much the fact that they are harmful, it is the fact that the individual relies on them that ultimately is the problem. Why are they relying on something to make them feel good? This is usually a sign that they are trying to fill a void or cope with stress.

What is stress? It can be anything that causes us to lose energy. It can be worrying about factors in our life like relationships, career, finances or general fears we face. It can be exposure to environmental toxins like electromagnetic frequencies (EMF), hidden chemicals in foods, water or products, air pollutants, artificial lighting, etc. It can also be from a lack of fresh air, sunlight and clean drinking water or a lack of sleep and rest.

So basically what happens is that when we lose energy chronically from our environment, a stress response emerges, and it begins in the brain. This loss of energy triggers a release in the stress hormone cortisol which is a glucocorticoid. That means it produces glucose (sugar) for the body to use while in this emergency state. That glucose comes from non-glucose substrates: the release of glucose from glycogen stores or amino acids in the liver and muscle or glycerol from triglycerides in fat tissue. If this action becomes chronic, it stimulates reward seeking pathways in the brain to crave things like sugar, because we are turning over glucose rapidly to deal with the stress. This creates a sort of starvation response which forces us to consume sugar to spare our own bodily tissue from being broken down through this catabolic process.

Drugs can make us feel good because they stimulate similar excitatory, reward-seeking pathways in the brain. Additionally, drugs like painkillers or opiates activate beta-endorphin which make us feel calm and eliminate pain. It turns out that when sunlight (UV light in particular) hits our skin, it activates a chemical in the brain called POMC (proopiomelanocortin) that is used to synthesize beta-endorphin naturally. Therefore, it is safe to say that many addictions and cravings can be as simple as a lack of sunlight on the skin.

That being said, any decrease in energy flow is what creates the stress, and if we can restore energy flow, the stress goes away. Before I knew the mechanism, I would succumb to terrible sugar cravings, and often punish myself the next day by restricting my calories, only to create an endless cycle of binging and starving myself. So if I ever need to reduce my cravings now, I simply connect with nature: let the sun shine on my skin and through my eyes to increase my energy flow, connect to the earth’s magnetic field to yield free electrons through my feet, practice intermittent fasting, drink plenty of quality water and use cold water immersions. Cold water immersion works to increase the flow of energy by releasing heat from our fat tissues and that energy liberated keeps hunger and cravings to a minimum. These are natural strategies we can use to allow our brain to sense our energy status, which results in decreased fat storage because let’s face it, why would we need to store fat (energy) when we are yielding plenty directly from our environment? Storing energy is critical only when we are losing it too quickly in, so decreasing our fat mass is the result of efficiently using energy from our environment. It’s not a story about caloric restriction as most would think. When we can increase our energy flow, cravings and hunger simply disappear because we do not need as much energy from foods.

Other strategies I would address are finding solutions to other sources of stress such as career related issues (i.e. stress and pressures at work), relationship issues (i.e. being around people who bring me down), financial stress (i.e. struggling to pay bills), etc. The free energy we can harvest from nature allows us to put forth strategies to overcome these lifestyle hiccups we may face, and overcome any source of stress that comes our way. Once stress is managed well, cravings for sugar or any other substances are completely eliminated, but our environment simply HAS to be the main focus first and foremost. Nature’s gives us its energy for free. Reconnecting is the key. Disconnecting is our downfall.